My vitiligo story
When I was sixteen years old, I got diagnosed with vitiligo. You know… the thing that made Michael Jackson turn white.
It started out with just a few white spots on my hands, but within a year, so-called lesions formed around my eyes. Throughout the years, vitiligo has been spreading all over my body. In my case it is paired with a thyroid condition, so I need medication every day to keep my body functioning normally.
The thing about vitiligo is, that even though it’s a skin disease, it is mostly a mental condition. Luckily the white areas don’t pose any danger to your health – except from getting sunburned real quick – but it has a huge effect on your mental state. Growing up I have been struggling in my own skin. Because vitiligo keeps on spreading, it is an ongoing process of trying to find acceptance in your head. When you’re finally OK with that one big spot on your neck, suddenly a new one is forming right next to your mouth.
I once read an article about a doctor who asked her patients to close their eyes and circle their vitiligo spots with their fingers. Most of them could do it with scary precision. So could I.
It has taken me a long time to accept myself but I am much more confident now.
Additionally, at 25 I broke my elbow joint in a skating incident. I needed a six-hour surgery. After a long period of physical therapy luckily I regained almost full use of my arm. After working out with a personal trainer for several years now, I am even stronger than ever. It did however leave me with a huge scar.
Now I have decided to tell my story with the help of these beautiful pictures made by the super talented Patrick Visser. The photos show me with all my ‘flaws’.
Hopefully these photos will inspire others struggling with vitiligo and/or other visible scars to embrace themselves and be proud of who you are. They make you YOU.
Love yourself 💗